Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 20, 2017
Sciatica pain is one of the more common conditions that results in lumbar spinal discomfort. The problem arises when the sciatic nerve, which runs near the hip and down the leg, becomes compressed. The condition can result in shooting or radiating pain and an inability to walk without discomfort, but there is plenty that can be done to treat the condition. Today, we take a look at five nonsurgical approaches to treating sciatic nerve pain.
Physical therapy or stretching exercises are the most common treatment of sciatica. The goal is to free the impinged nerve and decompress structures that may be pressing on the sciatic nerve. Physical therapy allows the patient to target specific areas of the leg, hip or lower back that are causing problems. Ask a spine specialist or physical therapist about what exercises may be best for your nerve pain.
Heat and Cold Therapy
If you’re dealing with acute sciatica pain, you may be able to find relief through a combination of heat and cold therapy. Try either heating or icing the area for 20 minutes at a time, and repeat this process a couple times each day. Find which therapy works best for you, or alternate and see if that helps with pain and discomfort.
Anti-Inflammatory Medications or Muscle Relaxers
This conservative care technique doesn’t work towards solving the root problem, but it can decrease pain levels, which may make other treatment techniques like physical therapy or stretching more bearable. Anti-inflammatory medications can also help to calm inflammation caused by compression or nerve irritation. This technique should be used in combination with other treatments in order to actively combat the problem of sciatica.
If you are dealing with severe pain caused by sciatica, a pain injection into the area can calm the irritation and help reduce inflammation. Injections are a very effective short-term option because the medication is delivered straight to the painful source. Like medications, it isn’t supposed to be viewed as a long-term solution, but it can make active treatment options more bearable by quelling pain and discomfort.
Exercise is similar to a physical therapy program, but it is less structured and usually aimed at preventing minor or mild cases of sciatica. The goal of exercise for sciatic nerve pain is twofold – to reduce sciatic nerve pain and to condition the area to prevent future recurrences. Regular exercise has been shown to more beneficial than rest for sciatic nerve pain, so although movement may be a little more uncomfortable than lounging around, you’re actually doing your body more good by getting regular exercise.
If you are bothered by sciatic nerve pain or another spinal condition, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi today.